CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Atmospheric Illusion

Atmospheric Illusion
PIA 07555

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  Believe it or not, this extreme close-up of Saturn's swirling clouds was acquired from more than one million kilometers from the gas giant planet. The rings' image is severely bent by atmospheric refraction as they pass behind the planet.

The dark region in the rings is the 4,800 kilometer- (2,980 mile-) wide Cassini Division.

The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on June 25, 2005, from a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (600,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 2, 2009 (PIA 07555)
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